God Made Manifest
There are these lights you can buy that, through the one lamp, will display multiple colours. I was thinking about how this typifies Christ in us, with each colour being a manifestation of Himself in our lives as He causes us to bear fruit through the Spirit of God. This is a poor analogy given that this light would need to be able to display many different colours at once (for the manifestation of Christ experimentally will lead to a felt sense of love, faith, obedience, repentance, knowledge, patience, compassion, and so on — all to one degree or another). However, the intent of the figure is to show that all of the good in us, all of the virtues made visible by us (as outward words and works), can be summed up as Christ evidencing his pre-eminence in our lives in that area, at the expense of our sinful selves, at that given moment. Consider,
Wisdom: Do we have godly wisdom of ourselves, or do we have “…Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” according to 1 Corinthians 1:30? Isn’t “wisdom” Christ working in us to give us discernment, good judgment, and the ability to rightly apply knowledge? But isn’t this working in us the subduing of our own natural darkness and the rising of Himself as our sun of righteousness? In Proverbs 8, we see that Christ is Wisdom personified — but as a feminine. Why a feminine? Because we are the bride, the body of Christ. Our Lord, as the Head of the body, manifests wisdom in the same way that our head (with the brain therein) manifests thoughts, and initiates actions, for our body. Wisdom is nothing less than the Person and Mind of Christ prevailing in our own minds, reigning in us, against the natural darkness therein.
Knowledge: Do we have godly knowledge in and of ourselves, or placed in us by God in some manner outside of His being, or did God command the light to shine out of darkness into our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ as we read in 2 Corinthians 4:6. Isn’t Christ the Light as we read in John 1:1-9? Isn’t He the treasure that we have in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us (2 Corinthians 4:7)?
Knowledge must have an object. We do not just know in a vacuum, we must know something or someone. Spiritual knowledge has as its object the Lord Jesus Christ. We have knowledge only when the Lord makes Himself, and His many characteristics and virtues, known to us. We have knowledge of His word only as He reveals Himself to us in light of the words that we read in scripture — for knowledge gained with carnal reasoning is just heady and empty of life; it puffs up but never bows us down unto godly praise and worship. But the knowledge that derives from the act of our Lord making Himself known to us, and in us, through the application of His word to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that is true knowledge indeed.
When we read in Proverbs 2:10-11 “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: 12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil [man,] from the man that speaketh froward things” — does this not have as its ultimate fulfilment the truth that “When Christ entereth into thine heart, and Christ is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Christ shall preserve thee, Christ shall keep thee: 12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil [man,] from the man that speaketh froward things.” You see wisdom, knowledge, discretion, and understanding (like so many other virtues) are facets of our Head, they are aspects of His Being — revealed to us by the Spirit of God with power.
Consider Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Again, ultimately, can we not say that people are destroyed because they lack Christ in their hearts and because they rejected Him in their lives? The non-elect surely lack and reject Christ unto their ultimate destruction. But the believer, when he runs after sinful self, doesn’t he lack Christ experimentally for a time. In a sense, hasn’t he rejected Christ for a season, choosing the things of this world over our Lord for the period appointed?
Faith: Far too many think that faith is something that they must muster up in order to come to God. They fail to realise that True Faith is Christ “mustering” Himself, that is manifesting Himself, in the hearts of regenerate men. There is no faith without Christ because Christ is our Faith. Faith, like knowledge, must have an object. Just like we wouldn’t say “He has knowledge [in/of/about]” and then cut off speaking, leaving the rest blank, we wouldn’t say “we have faith” without declaring what we have faith in. The blind have faith in the abstract, they have no idea what they have faith in. But the believer has faith in his/her FAITH. Faith in our hearts is Christ rising in it to such a degree that it overrides some, or all, of our doubts and fears. When the Lord Jesus declares “Thy faith hath made thee whole” or “Thy Faith hath saved thee” (e.g. Matthew 9:22), He is ultimately saying that He, the object, of our faith has saved us and that His manifestation of Himself to us is the means by which he has brought this making whole, this salvation, to our consciences and experience. Thus our faith is FAITH (Christ) in action in our lives, made known unto us in such a way as to cause us to love, believe, abide, and rest in Him all the more.
Trust: Do we trust? Do we truly trust God? The only time we should ever trust something is if it is true and trustworthy. We read in Revelation 19:11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” Our Lord said in John 14:6 “…I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” Whatever trust we have in our hearts towards God is the direct result of the Truth of God making Himself known to us in such a way, and to such a degree, that we cannot help but trust in Him. He, as our truth, reveals the lie — tearing it down in our lives to such an extent that we simply cannot believe it any more. He is our Judge and King actively tearing down the high places and idols of our mind as was typified so often in the Old Testament.
Love: Do we love God? Do we love His people? 1 John 4:16 declares that “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” If God is love, and if those who dwell in love dwell in God and God in them, then isn’t love also God in us making manifest this aspect of His nature? Can we have any love, whether that love is from us or worked in us by God, that is separate from the very being of God Himself? If God is love, then what (true) love can there be separate from, or outside of, His very Person?
Summary: God, in His word, layers things; sometimes we get caught up in those layers and miss the core Truth. We think of faith, repentance, love, fear, knowledge, wisdom, humility, etc., as things that come from God that we must obtain. It is true that these things come from God, but not in the sense of something separate from God being given to us. When we give gifts to others, we almost always give them something that is alien to our actual body or being (unless we are talking about organ or blood transplants and the like). However, this is not so with God. When God causes us to walk in Him and bear fruit, He does so by subduing our will and nature and revealing for us (and others) to see His will and nature in us.
As we read the Bible, whenever we see someone walking humbly, lovingly, compassionately, fearfully, reverently… do not think of it as godly qualities that the Lord has handed off to them to possess; instead, think of it as the light of Christ shining through them (as a light shines through a lamp) to manifest Who and What He is. Recognise that the attributes of the Lord are like unto a light shining through a perfect diamond, one with many facets; as we walk in accordance with those attributes (peace, patience, godly anger, steadfastness, etc.) we are seeing the Light of Christ, shining through each facet (one being love, another knowledge, another earnestness), overcoming our natural darkness and illuminating our own hearts and the hearts of those around us that are His. We are the light of the world, and our light cannot be Hid because if we are His, Christ will shine through us. In time, He will shine through us to such a degree that we will deny self, bear our cross, profess His name before the world, and comfort and edify one another — all to the degree that God has ordained. But these doings are not mere enablings; they are shinings, they are the brilliance of the light of God shining through in spite of sin in us and sin in this world. This Light cannot be stopped; He will be made known in us.
Thus, in all things (in all things) to God be the glory, through Christ our Lord.